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Honda to Reveal Concept Version of New Insight Hybrid at Paris Show

The Honda Insight Concept.

Honda will reveal a concept version of its new small hybrid vehicle, to be named Insight, at the upcoming 2008 Paris Motor Show (Mondial de l’Automobile) in October. The new Insight Concept shares styling cues with the Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle and will provide an early look at the highly-anticipated five-passenger hybrid vehicle.

The original Honda Insight was introduced in December 1999 as the US’ first gasoline-electric hybrid car. The first vehicle to break the 70-mpg fuel economy barrier, Insight, since cancelled, was designed from the ground up to demonstrate the potential for fuel-economy in a two-seater subcompact automobile.

Targeted for sale in the US next spring, the all-new purpose-built Insight will come to market at a price significantly below hybrids available today, according to Honda.

The original Honda Insight pioneered hybrid technology in the US and remains a symbol of Honda’s commitment to innovative technology and fuel efficiency. This new Insight will break new ground as an affordable hybrid within the reach of customers who want great fuel economy and great value.

—Takeo Fukui, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. CEO

The Insight Concept uses a more cost-efficient version of Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid technology. The Insight Concept is designed with a low center of gravity and a generous five-passenger cabin.

The production Insight will be offered as a five-door, five-passenger hatchback. Numerous technologies, including a function to assist customers in achieving more fuel efficient driving habits, will be applied to achieve a further improvement in real world fuel efficiency, said Honda. Along with the Civic Hybrid, the new vehicle will be produced at an expanded hybrid vehicle production line at the Suzuka factory in Japan.

Honda expects the Insight to have annual global sales of 200,000 units per year, with approximately 100,000 of those in North America. Following the launch of the new Insight, Honda also plans to introduce another unique sporty hybrid vehicle based on the CR-Z, first shown at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show. All together, Honda plans an increase in its global sales of hybrids to approximately 500,000 units a year, or more than 10% of its total worldwide annual automobile sales.



It looks a bit like a prius - or is it just me.

I think when people buy a hybrid they want everyone to know - it is not so much about the fuel saving, it is about saving the planet in public - or as Oscar Wilde put it, "washing one's clean linen in public".

That is one reason why the Prius sells so well - everyone knows you are "good".

If you had a civic hybrid, most people wouldn't notice.

Hence the new car.

Also, a 5 seat hybrid is a lot more use than a 2 seat.
So good luck Honda.


The teardrop shape is aerodynamically efficient. Hence the semblance to the Toyota Prius. Hopefully this Insight is in the 60-70mpg range.


One could easily say that the Prius looks like the original Insight, just ballooned to fit 5 passengers instead of 2.

As GreenPlease notes, there are only so many ways to emulate a teardrop. It just so happens they all look similar. Expect to see more teardrop shaped vehicles in the future.

I am hoping they can get the fuel economy of this new Insight above 50mpg EPA combined, but if they do, they will seriously cannibalize Civic Hybrid sales. I suspect the fuel economy will be somewhere between the Civic Hybrid and current Prius.


This will be a winner, IMHO. (The wheel covers are tacky, but that's a nit.)


Of course it's only a concept. GCC readers often comment how few concepts get to actual production.

The unwritten rule is that at least 5 posters shall declare this to be "vaporware" that will never see the light of day.


The auto version is 57/56 mpg, the manual is 61/68 mpg.

Max Reid

It all depends on the Pricing. But it looks good and hatchbacks have lot more space compared to similarly sized sedan.

Its good that Honda is doing its best.

Scratch that previous post, incorrect.

Henry Gibson

Can it operate on electricity alone? It is about time for a major car company to try a hydraulic hybrid. The mechanical Flybrid also could be tacked on to any pickup and many other cars. ..HG..


Seems some of the Pious owners are a bit sensitive about the armadillo shape.


Looks more to me like ToppaTom is a bit envious of prius owners (and no, I don't own one)

And Mahonj seems to know why they buy them. Although he doesn't have one.


I didn't buy a Prius to show people that I'm "good." I bought it to save gas. My son is a Marine, and I want to reduce the money flow to those who want to kill him and his brothers. Oh, then there's that thing about global warming -- icing on the cake.

That is one reason why the Prius sells so well - everyone knows you are "good".
So what does that say about the majority of SUV drivers?

Do you really believe that people buy Prius because it looks unique? Give credit where it is due!

Prius is shaping the future of the car body (Insight II and Volt will resemble). It has the most spacious, aerodynamic and futuristic body shape. This tear-drop shape hatchback will become the standard body shape in the coming century. The same way sedan became standard in family cars. Believe it or not, a twins size mattress fits in Prius... so can a 52" HDTV boxed (39" width).

Hybrid Synergy Drive in the Prius is THE engine of change that moved us forward. It has an ingenious engineering that simplified mechanical moving parts and integrated electric motors in the hybrid transaxle. The synergistic result of two types of engine working together is lower emission, higher fuel economy (even on highway), smoother acceleration, instant power response, instant heat/cold AC, silence electric vehicle mode and touch screen LCD with executive performance summary. A simple test drive will convince most non-believer to sign up on the waiting list. A unique look alone can not do this. A claim that unique look and "feel good" are reasons to buy Prius is just denying the real substance this car has to offer.

As a owner of a Prius, I can understand those claims are made by those that "don't get it" or have not test driven one yet (armchair journalists). Prius owners sure feel good because it has the real substance! It does offers all those benefits and oh yeah, it can pay for itself. Never in the history, features of benefit (described above) pays for itself as you fill up and drive the car. No wonder Prius drivers feel good!


Family and friends own Priuses and I almost bought a used highbrid hylander which drove like a smooth, almost silent V8. But in all cases the economics argue against. My relative values the noteriety. My engineer friend liked the technology (geek).
I, and most of the engineers I know would like to own one for the novelty, but often do not want to be classed with people who can't do the math.


Do the "real" math. How much does it cost to keep aircraft carriers in the gulf? How many have died for oil.

You don't even need to add the cost of invading Iraq.

Who can drive an SUV without feeling guilty who has really thought about where that previously cheap oil came from?


Owning a hybrid in and of itself may not mean the owner can't do math since the purchase and operating costs relative to cheaper similarly equipped vehicles may be lower depending on the route/ownership period.


Yes, it looks a lot like the Prius. But also a bit like the 8th gen Civic Hatchback that's sold in Europe (why don't they sell a hybrid of that car, why?). Honda might break some headway if they also offered this car as a diesel hybrid. Just having a slightly cheaper Prius isn't going to make a big impact.


Tom, what about the people who paid extra for the V6 or V8 as opposed to a stock 4 cyl. They pay more up front, and then pay more at the pump. They must look like real idiots to you, the mathematician.

I paid $3500 more for my hybrid Altima than a stock 2.5S. I got stability control, more HP and torque, a better warranty, $2350 extra in my tax refund, and have saved $1500 in fuel since the first of the year. How about you let hybrid owners speak for themselves.


Uh, the only real car that could hold a candle to the Prius on fuel economy was the Civic Hybrid. It was just as good, really, except that it took a compact car trunk, made it smaller, and blocked the ability to fold down the rear seats for larger loads. So the cargo space was about as useful as the trunk in a Miata. And the interior is much bigger than the Civics- it's the same as the VW Passat, which nobody calls a compact car.

The Camry hybrid was a little better for cargo, but for all its exterior size the interior was the same as the Prius, the cargo carrying was still compromised, it cost more, and 33 mpg really isn't in the same league. The Accord Hybrid was a performance hybrid, an answer to a question nobody asked. The Lexus GS hybrid was the same. The Lexus RX hybrid may actually have some merit, but it's basically just a luxury Prius on stilts.

I don't completely discount the halo issue, but having shopped the market and made the purchase myself, I must again point out that there has not yet been a car that could compete directly with the Prius on economy AND capability. So definitely, bring on this new Insight. It won't solve the question of halo versus actual capabilities, but having both can't hurt.


I really must learn to proofread my posts!

End of first paragraph should read "And the *Prius* interior is much bigger than the Civic's...".


Glad to see Honda make waves again in the hybrid arena, though their Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid technology is likely a dead end in terms of quickly evolving into a PHEV. Perhaps they'll have something new, though they haven't even said when this concept car would be coming to market.

I have an original 2000 Honda Insight, and the wife drives a 2005 Prius. We're happy with both, though want the automakers to continue their drive to more efficient vehicles, including plug-in technology. I'm not hard over on a minimum distance for electric-only drive (as GM is pushing for the Volt) as that may price the vehicles out of the main market.

I'm ready for Honda to also announce another 2 seater that breaks new ground in the way of the Aptera, Loremo, VentureOne, etc in terms of a large increase in fuel economy.

Paul F. Dietz

Do the "real" math. How much does it cost to keep aircraft carriers in the gulf? How many have died for oil.

You don't even need to add the cost of invading Iraq.

Who can drive an SUV without feeling guilty who has really thought about where that previously cheap oil came from?

Apparently most SUV drivers can do so.

The economic argument you make is fundamentally flawed. Economic decisions are made on the margin. If I buy an SUV, this will have almost no effect on US foreign policy, so the benefit to me from such savings derived from altering my purchasing habits is essentially nil. On the other hand, the personal benefits I may experience from buying an SUV (or not buying an overly expensive hybrid) accrue largely to myself.

You could rightly argue that there are externalities -- like the cost of military involvement, and pollution, and safety issues related to the size of vehicles -- that should be made visible to consumers via Pigouvian taxes/subsidies. Absent those taxes, though, considerations such as the ones you mention are not going to convince the rational economic man.


Wes: the original Insight is a real car, and far exceeds the fuel economy of the Prius. Highway and City. For that matter, looking back further, the CRX HF exceeded the Prius's average city+highway.

The Prius is not the most aerodynamic design, the Insight still has the lowest drag coefficient of any production car made to date, and has a much smaller frontal crossection than the Prius. ( Try maintaining 42mpg avg at 90mph in a Prius)

So while the Prius has so far been the most fuel efficient SEDAN, it is not, by any measure the most fuel efficient "real car".

As for the point of price parity, most of the economic analysis done on these vehicles assumes a battery replacement using the battery pack's warranty life as the average time for replacement. THis is not an accurate measure... they also ignore lowered maintinance costs over the life due to higher maintinance intervals and reduced load on ICE components. They also assumes only a 10k-15k miles/year driven.

I replaced a 1993 Geo Storm with a used 2000 Insight in September of 2004. My annual cost of ownership(maintinance+Repairs+fuel cost) savings more than paid for the entire cost of the vehicle within 3 years. I've driven it for 4 years now so the past year has been gravy.

I hope that the Insight II is not overweight and bloated with useless and long term unreliable standard features as the Prius and Civic Hybrid are. More than ~2500Lbs would be too much imo.

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